Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s confectionery company on Friday announced plans to shut down his key asset in Russia, a candy factory, after a barrage of criticism at home for his maintaining business activities on rival ground.
The Western-backed leader’s business empire ranges from car to media holdings, but his most valuable asset is the Roshen confectionery empire, which includes five plants in Ukraine, as well as in Lithuania and Hungary.
Ranked by the Forbes Ukraine Web site as the sixth-richest man in the nation, worth US$858 million, Poroshenko, 51, has garnered the nickname “the chocolate king.”
His most controversial asset is based in the Russian city of Lipetsk, where Poroshenko bought a local confectionary plant in 2002.
Since 2013, the volume of production at the Lipetsk factory has plunged threefold, coinciding with the rupture of ties between Ukraine and Russia.
After an uprising in Kiev ousted a pro-Russian leader, Moscow annexed Ukraine’s strategic Crimean Peninsula on the Black Sea in March 2014 and supported a separatist movement in eastern Ukraine that has since claimed about 10,000 lives.
Poroshenko promised to sell his Roshen empire, but failed to follow through, citing a lack of foreign interest.
He passed his company’s shares to a trust firm for management.
The confectionary giant, whose name is based on Poroshenko’s, said in a statement that it would halt the Lipetsk plant’s operations for political and economic reasons, which include Moscow’s ban on Roshen imports since 2013.
“Roshen corporation halts manufacturing activity of the Lipetsk confectionery plant,” said the company, which is rated among the top 20 companies in the industry and supplies its products to more than 30 countries.
It also accused Moscow of discrediting the Roshen plant’s activity in the Russian media, as well as encouraging the local authorities to put pressure on its shops across the country.
Poroshenko was repeatedly criticized at home for maintaining businesses in Russia, despite his claims that Moscow was an “aggressor.”
Roshen said it was impossible to sell its Lipetsk branch after Russian investigators impounded the factory’s property in April 2015.
The company said it planned to cease production at the site by April.
ACADEMIC FREEDOM: One professor told her students to submit anonymized papers and not to record any online classes. Some US schools have announced similar steps Students at Oxford University specializing in the study of China are being asked to submit some papers anonymously to protect them from the possibility of retribution under the sweeping new security law introduced three months ago in Hong Kong. The anonymity ruling is to be applied in classes, and group tutorials are to be replaced by one-to-ones. Students are also to be warned that it will be viewed as a disciplinary offence if they tape classes or share them with outside groups. The Hong Kong National Security Law was imposed on June 30 by Beijing after more than a year of pro-democracy
Japan’s government yesterday urged people to seek help if they were struggling to cope, following Sunday’s death of the popular actress and Miss Sherlock star Yuko Takeuchi, 40. News of her death shocked the nation and follows other recent cases of Japanese celebrities taking their lives, with figures showing a recent rise in suicides. Takeuchi was a household name in Japan and had given birth to her second child in January. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato did not mention a particular case, but said that some people were struggling to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There has been an uptick in the number
China on Thursday lashed out at the US at a high-level UN meeting over its criticism on the COVID-19 pandemic, with its envoy declaring, “Enough is enough.” Two days after US President Donald Trump used his annual address to the General Assembly to attack China’s record, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft, also took an outraged tone — after which her Chinese counterpart showed palpable anger. “I must say, enough is enough. You have created enough troubles for the world already,” Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun (張軍) told a Security Council meeting on global governance attended through videoconference
PAPAL POLITICS? The controversial Australian prelate’s return to Rome comes just days after the pope fired one of his most powerful opponents over a financial scandal Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis’ former finance minister, is to soon return to the Vatican during an extraordinary economic scandal for the first time since he was cleared of child abuse allegations in Australia five months ago, a church agency said yesterday. Pell is to fly back to Rome today, CathNews, an information agency of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said, citing “sources close to” Pell. Pell’s return follows Francis last week firing one of the cardinal’s most powerful opponents, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, over a financial scandal. Pell was regarded as the third-highest-ranking Vatican official and was attempting to wrestle the Holy See’s